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Masters of Cinema


the witch in Viy

Delving deep into Ukrainian folklore, Nikolai Gogol’s Viy remains a perennial favourite across Russia. Since it’s first publication as part of a novella in the 19th century, it has captured the imagination of countless generations. Whilst there have been many adaptations, Konstantin Ershov and Georgiy Kropachyov’s 1967 film still remains the most notable. Indeed, it …

Ever since we abandoned our caves, humans have apparently been fascinated by stories of exotic monsters and fantastic beasts. Whilst today, mass global travel and the internet means that these myths and legends have been roundly debunked, that doesn’t mean that enthusiasm for the unknown has waned. Stories of the Yeti, Nessie or Bigfoot still …

In 1925, one of America’s most popular film stars first started out in the movies. Whilst Gary Cooper may have been a face which dominated cinema screens for decades, he came from humble beginnings. After a number of bit parts, his horsemanship and naturalistic acting style soon won him better roles. He starred in a …

There are very few, if any, directors who have worked in Hollywood with a record of success equal to or better than Elia Kazan. The émigré had a reputation of getting the best out of his actors. In a career spanning only nineteen films he was rewarded with five Academy Award nominations, as well as …

Whilst it might be a slightly tender subject, when a man reaches a certain age he often yearns for his more youthful and carefree years. A midlife crisis can take many shapes and forms but it usually involves one or all of dressing stupidly, chasing ‘girls’ young enough to be your daughter, taking up an …

James Cagney had one of the most interesting career arks in twentieth century Hollywood. He started out in cinema playing the tough guy in films during the 1930s and 1940s. The likes of Angels with Dirty Faces, The Public Enemy and White Heat made his name. Frustrated with being typecast, he always wanted more and …

Myths, legends and fairy tales have long fascinated humans, permeating into just about every society and culture around the world. Folklore, passed down by word of mouth, song and eventually through the written word, still plays an integral role in many communities. These stories have often been thinly-veiled cautionary tales or moralistic parables to control …

Last month we lost one of the greatest composers of the modern era. Although André Previn had huge success working in jazz and classical music, aside from an appearance in a hilarious Morecambe and Wise sketch, he’s probably best remembered for his work on films. In a glittering career he received thirteen Oscar nominations, including …

Gloria Grahame was not your usual Hollywood star. Despite being obsessed by her looks later on in her career (to a worrying degree) her contract was sold by MGM to RKO because she ‘hadn’t what it takes’ to be successful. She had four husbands, one was the son of another (who she was caught in …

Bette Davis was an indomitable presence on screen. In a career which spanned over sixty years she became one of the most recognisable faces of cinema. She is undoubtedly one of the Hollywood greats and an actress who is still celebrated today. Her formidable talent was rewarded with a raft of awards including two Oscars …